Thursday, April 4, 2013

A prairie pair

photo of very early Spring woods
© harrington
Hi! Thanks for coming. This is what the pond down the road looked like one year and two days ago. Today it's still 90% ice covered but is starting to open up in spots along the north side, where there's the greatest exposure to the southern sun. Have you ever dreamed you were flying? Without an airplane, I mean. I used to, occasionally, but don't remember having a dream of flying for a long time. Today, while taking Franco the rescue dog for his afternoon walk, we saw a flock of 16 to 20 sandhill cranes up high and headed easterly. I flashed back to dreams of flight, unencumbered, self-powered, looking down on the landscape, untouchable. Franco tugged at his leash. Reality returned. However, today's reality was full of pleasant surprises in addition to the cranes. Audrey Kletscher Helbling, in her Minnesota Prairie Roots blog, has shared as part of National Poetry Month, a wonderful poem she wrote. This Barn Remembers captures a time we'll see too little of in the future, I fear. Farming is becoming industry more than craft factory more than home. Her photography is haunting and her explanation of how she writes poetry is as useful to the aspiring poet as anything I've read by Ted Kooser or Mary Oliver. My Minnesota's contribution to National Poetry Month today is the first of an 8 poem ensemble submitted last year to Writers Rising Up Prairie Poetry contest. Over the next month, from time to time, the other pieces will show up here.
What if
Pasque flowers dwarfed you as you
Reclined under prairie stars
All heaven-scattered above prairie grasses
Infinite in their reach
Reminding you of your diminished
Insignificant role in a universal scheme of
things where
Even the prairie and the grasses are ever

Where now can you see
Great horizon-sized bison herds, when what
Remains are only clustered preserves of an
Antique land that was carved into plough-
sized plots
Sliced into fading fragments
Shorn of natural wealth
Ebbing from grass stems to corn stalks
growing beneath prairie
Sunshine, starshine, embedded in a prairie
 I'll leave to you the assessment of how this, and the subsequent pieces, measure up to Snyder's points. Thanks for listening. Come again. Rants, raves and reflections served daily here.